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AP Financial News Summary at 11:54 a.m. EST

March 8, 2006

Enron Ex-CFO: Lay Aware of Financial Woes

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Enron Corp. chief executive Kenneth Lay knew of serious financial problems at the company in 2001, days before he gave an interview claiming Enron was in its best shape ever, Enron’s former chief financial officer testified Wednesday.

NYSE Public After 214 Not-For-Profit Years

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NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Stock Exchange began life as a publicly traded company Wednesday, with officials of the new NYSE Group Inc. ringing their own opening bell to start the trading session.

FDA Panel Supports MS Drug’s Market Return

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Food and Drug Administration panel said Wednesday the agency should allow multiple-sclerosis drug Tysabri back on the market.

Stocks Fall, Interest Rate Worries Linger

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Stocks edged lower Wednesday as U.S. government bond yields rose, exacerbating investors’ worries about interest rates. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index declined for the fifth straight session.

OPEC Says It Will Forgo Production Cut

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VIENNA, Austria (AP) _ OPEC agreed Wednesday to keep its production level unchanged amid the political instability and terrorism that have been unnerving global markets, but said it would pay close attention to demand and high prices between now and summer.

Exxon to Boost Spending Almost $2B by 2010

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Exxon Mobil Corp. forecast Wednesday that its spending on oil and gas drilling, refining and chemicals manufacturing would rise from about $18 billion now to almost $20 billion a year between 2007 and 2010.

Six Flags Shares Fall After 4Q Report

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Six Flags Inc., the nation’s second-largest amusement park company, on Wednesday posted a bigger loss for the fourth quarter despite a 6 percent gain in revenue, as costs rose.

VNU Board Agrees to $8.9B Buyout Offer

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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ Dutch publisher VNU NV, the owner of Nielsen’s television ratings, said Wednesday its supervisory and executive boards have agreed to a 7.5 billion euros ($8.9 billion) buyout offer from a group of private investors.

Swisscom 4Q Profit Down 18 Percent

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BERN, Switzerland (AP) _ Telecommunications company Swisscom AG said Wednesday its net profit dropped 18 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005, but full-year profit jumped more than a quarter despite lower revenue.

Citibank Blocks Some Debit-Card Use Abroad

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Citibank said Wednesday it has blocked the use of some of its PIN-based debit cards after detecting fraudulent cash withdrawals in three countries.

Dynegy Shares Down on 2006 Outlook

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HOUSTON (AP) _ Electricity producer Dynegy Inc. said Wednesday it posted a profit in the fourth quarter, reversing a year-ago loss, as revenue surged and gains from discontinued operations lifted results.

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